One of the things that is going to happen, obviously, as we are talking, reading, and hearing about the PROPHETS is that we are going to get a LITTLE BIT CONFUSED because there is imagery that is used that makes us think we have no idea what is going on
In Isaiah 21:1, “The oracle concerning the wilderness of the sea. As whirlwinds in the Negeb sweep on, it comes from the desert, from a terrible land.”
So basically it begins by talking about Elam and Media and all these other places
What is EXACTLY happening here??
That is a great question!!
What’s happening is Isaiah is prophesying about how PERSIA will march against BABYLON
This is a FORETELLING situation, not a FORTHTELLING situation
At this point, Assyria has not yet come in
He was the leader of the Assyrian army and came up against King Hezekiah of Judah (SOUTHERN KINGDOM)
King Hezekiah prays and Assyria goes away
Babylon came next and they brought all of the people into EXILE
Here is Isaiah prophesying about those coming from PERSIA to make war on BABYLON
So when he says, “Go up, Elam, lay siege, O Media…”
Elam and Media are the ancient names for the people of PERSIA
It can feel like it’s all over the board
But if we have some sense of context, here is the prophecy in Isaiah Chs 21 and 22 about PERSIA coming up against BABYLON
It also prophesied the FALL OF BABYLON
It talks about the MAN IN THE WATCHTOWER, the one who watches and declares what he sees
Isaiah 21:6, “Go, set a watchman, let him announce what he sees.”
As Christians, one of our roles is to be THOSE SET ON WATCHTOWERS
Oftentimes as Christians, we can be pointed out as making a big deal about little things
Or picking a lot of fights with our culture
One of the roles of the PROPHET is to be that person on the WATCHTOWER
We are not making stuff up, but we are called to DECLARE WHAT WE SEE
If your role is to be the WATCHTOWER for your family, you are not causing problems to your family just by pointing out here are the dangers in and around our family
If you are the pastor of a parish, just pointing out the dangers in the parish and in the dangers in the culture right now, you are not creating those dangers, you have to DECLARE THEM
So many people have been OVERWHELMED, OVERRUN, and DESTROYED because there was not someone on the watchtower TO POINT OUT AND DECLARE WHAT THEY SAW
That serves as a REMINDER TO US
Babylon is fallen in Isaiah Ch 21
Isaiah Ch 22 is REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT for many reasons
It is an ORACLE CONCERNING THE VALLEY OF VISION
What is the Valley of Vision?
Great question, camper!
THE VALLEY OF VISION IS JERUSALEM!!
Jerusalem is built on a mountain and there are valleys that go around the city
When Isaiah is prophesying concerning the VALLEY OF VISION, he is prophesying concerning JERUSALEM ITSELF
KEEP THAT IN MIND
Jerusalem is STILL THERE and it STILL EXISTS
They have not YET been brought into exile
All throughout Isaiah’s lifetime, Jerusalem (Fr. Mike said Israel, but they were taken out by Assyria and King Manasseh was King of Judah aka SOUTHERN KINGDOM) will not be brought in into exile
Isaiah is killed by King Manasseh way before Babylon came into power
In Isaiah Ch 22 it talks about two individuals
One is SHEBNA
One is ELIAKIM
Shebna is the one who is over the household in Isaiah 22:15
The one over the household is the Hebrew term AL HABAYIT
AL is over
HA is the
BAYIT is house
Shebna is over the house, the AL HABAYIT
We have encountered Shebna and Eliakim in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles
Shebna is basically the PRIME MINISTER of the kingdom
The King is in charge
The AL HABAYIT is the PRIME MINISTER
When the King is away, Shebna aka the AL HABAYIT has all of the authority of the KING
Why is this INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT?
Because what happens is that Shebna uses this power to exalt himself
He goes and hews himself a tomb in a rock
Because of this, the Lord God says, “No no. Listen, you have misused your role. You have misused your authority. You have misused your power. And because of this, I will thrust you out of your station and bring in Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah.”
Here is why this is so important
If you have ever read The Gospel of Matthew Ch 16 then you are VERY FAMILIAR WITH THIS LANGUAGE
In Matthew Ch 16, Jesus goes to Caesarea Philippi and he asks his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
The disciples answer, “Jeremiah? Isaiah? John the Baptist? One of the prophets? Elijah?”
Jesus then says, “Nope, none of those answers are correct. Who do YOU say that I am?”
SIMON stands up and says, “You are the Messiah. You are the Christ. You are the Holy One of God.”
Jesus then says to Simon, “Blessed are you Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, my Heavenly Father did. Therefore, your name is now ROCK.”
PETER aka PETROS means ROCK
“And upon this ROCK I will build my CHURCH and the Gates of Hell WILL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST HER.”
Jesus is saying VERY CLEARLY, “I will build my rock upon you, Peter.”
“Your name is Peter (PETROS)”
“And I will build my Church upon this ROCK (PETROS)”
“And the Gates of Hell WILL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT”
And then Jesus goes on to say, “I will give you the KEYS TO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. What you open, no one shall shut. What you shut, no one shall open.”
This is why Isaiah Ch 22 is SO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT
In Matthew’s Gospel, one of his INTENTIONS is to let us know that JESUS IS THE KING and He is ESTABLISHING THE KINGDOM
Jesus is the FULFILLMENT of the ENTIRE OLD TESTAMENT
Think about right now where we are in Isaiah and Nahum
The TEN TRIBES OF THE NORTH are GONE
Assyria has already destroyed them
The TWO TRIBES IN THE SOUTH are SO SMALL AND SO SCATTERED
EVERYTHING IS AWFUL!
There is this PROMISE that THERE WILL BE A KING
Matthew is making it SO SO CLEAR
JESUS IS THAT KING!!
Jesus is ESTABLISHING A KINGDOM
The ROLE of the King is to ESTABLISH THE KINGDOM
It’s not just about Jesus
IT IS ALSO ABOUT THE KINGDOM HE IS ESTABLISHING!!
In that KINGDOM, there is the role called the AL HABAYIT
Just as there was in the KINGDOM OF JUDAH
The role of the AL HABAYIT says what?
Isaiah 22:22, “I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” 🤯🤯🤯
So in Matthew Ch 16 and Jesus asks the question, “Who do you say that I am?”
Jesus CHANGES his name from SIMON to PETER (ROCK)
CEPHAS (ARAMAIC) means ROCK
“I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. What you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven. What you loose on Earth will be loosed in Heaven.”
Every one of those other Apostles, ALL OF THEM, are thinking, “Oh my gosh...Isaiah Chapter 22 (Now they didn’t have chapters back then)”
But they are thinking, “Oh my GOSH. Isaiah. This is the role of the AL HABAYIT!”
Here is Jesus who has established himself as the KING in the KINGDOM!!
Here is PETER who is made into the FIRST AL HABAYIT!! 🤯🤯🤯
THE FIRST PRIME MINISTER!! 🤯🤯🤯
In Isaiah 22:21, “And I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your belt on him…”
These are signs of an OFFICE
These are signs of AUTHORITY
“I will commit your authority to his hand.”
So this is a role that has AUTHORITY, the AL HABAYIT, that Peter has now been given
It goes on to say, “and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.”
It’s NOT just a role of GOVERNING
It is a role of FATHERING
And we know that the SUCCESSORS of PETER have ALWAYS been considered to be the AL HABAYIT
We know that Jesus is the ONE KING of the Kingdom He has established
When Jesus made Peter the AL HABAYIT in Matthew 16, then EVERY ONE OF THE SUCCESSORS OF PETER (Peter died as the Bishop of Rome) are the AL HABAYITS
They are the PRIME MINISTERS
We call them THE HOLY FATHER
Think about this
WE CALL THEM THE POPE
Why do we call them the POPE?
Because it is the Anglicized version of the Italian form of the word, PAPA!! 🤯🤯🤯
PAPA MEANS FATHER!! 🤯🤯🤯
What does it say in Isaiah 22:21?
“He shall be a FATHER to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.”
TO ALL THOSE IN THE KINGDOM, HE IS A FATHER
HE IS NOT THE KING!
The KING is the ACTUAL FATHER TO THE NATION
The AL HABAYIT serves in this role of not just AUTHORITY
Not just GOVERNING
Not just GUIDING
Also in this INCREDIBLE SPIRITUAL WAY OF BEING A FATHER!!🤯🤯🤯
It’s INCREDIBLE that Isaiah Ch 22 is FULFILLED in Matthew Ch 16!! 🤯🤯🤯
That is something DEFINITELY WORTH PRAYING ABOUT!!
IT IS CHALLENGING!!
You may have grown up thinking the PAPACY is a MEDIEVAL INVENTION or INVENTED LATER ON in the life of the Church
IT CAME FROM ISAIAH CH 22!! 🤯🤯🤯
There is this role of the AL HABAYIT
In Matthew Ch 16 Jesus made SIMON into PETER and then made PETER into the AL HABAYIT!! 🤯🤯🤯
It’s interesting because we do have BAD POPES, right?
We also have FAILURES of Popes, right?
Peter himself was A FAILURE as well
PETER DENIED KNOWING JESUS!!!
What does Jesus do with Peter at the end of the Gospel of John?
Jesus says, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Peter replies, “Yes, Lord. You know I love you.”
Jesus replies, “Feed my sheep.”
Jesus asks, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter replies, “Yes, Lord. You know I love you.”
Jesus replies, “Tend my lambs.”
Jesus asks a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter replies, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus replies, “Feed my sheep.”
Even though Simon/Peter/Cephas had FAILED in his role, Jesus RESTORED HIM TO HIS ROLE
That’s the thing we TRUST IN SO DEEPLY
JESUS CAN RESTORE!!
Jesus had CHOSEN a bad Pope!
Peter ENDED UP GREAT
Peter was not great ALL THE WAY THROUGH
Peter had the role of the AL HABAYIT
The Catholic Church has had an UNBROKEN LINE of his SUCCESSORS as BISHOPS OF ROME 🤯🤯🤯
OF AL HABAYIT 🤯🤯🤯
OF THE PRIME MINISTER 🤯🤯🤯
OF THE HOLY FATHER
DOWN UNTO THIS DAY!!! 🤯🤯🤯
You might not LIKE that interpretation
You might not AGREE with that interpretation
Hopefully now you know, if you never knew, where Catholics get the idea of the POPE in the first place
WE DIDN’T JUST MAKE IT UP IN THE 1500s!!!
WE DIDN’T JUST MAKE IT UP IN THE EARLY CHURCH!!
WE DIDN’T MAKE IT UP AT ALL!!!
It comes when the OLD TESTAMENT is FULFILLED in Matthew Ch 16!!! 🤯🤯🤯
WE LIVE IT EVERY DAY!!
Here’s the thing...Here’s the GREAT NEWS ONCE AGAIN
What does Isaiah say?
“He will be a FATHER to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.”
If you are part of the Church, the KINGDOM OF GOD, JESUS IS THE KING
JESUS GAVE YOU A HOLY FATHER ON THIS EARTH
IT’S NOT JUST FOR CATHOLICS!!
Jesus gave this ROLE OF THE AL HABAYIT to ALL THOSE who are PART OF THE KINGDOM!!!
WHICH IS A GIFT!!!
It’s a gift that Fr. Mike is so grateful for
Hopefully it is a gift that, if you can, you can receive with GRATITUDE AS WELL!!
OK, this might have been CHALLENGING
It might NOT have been CHALLENGING
Hopefully, it was ILLUMINATING!! (I’d venture to say it was MIND BLOWING!!🤯🤯🤯)
Hopefully, you realize that God keeps giving us gifts EVEN WHEN WE DON’T REALIZE IT FOR ALL OF OUR LIVES
God has brought us here to Day 201 PRAYING FOR EACH OTHER
FR. MIKE IS PRAYING FOR YOU
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE